(NaturalNews) The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPICN) is a multicenter meta-epidemiological (broad statistical survey) study designed to assess cancer risks by investigating past and current relationships between diet, lifestyle, environmental factors and cancer among a large population of different EU nations.
EPICN had a pool of 500,000 men and women recruited from 28 centers in 10 European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK) for several studies involving different cancers and groups with different lifestyles and diets.
A UK sub-study isolated 142,251 men from this vast pool, excluding Norway and France. Both of those nations had only women in the study. The men were recruited between 1989 and 2004 with a median age of 52, mostly white Europeans from the eight nations that had men in the EPICN cohort (group of similar types).
During recruitment, this male group taken from the EPICN required consentual access to medical records, no history or diagnosis of cancer proven by medical records, and were able to complete questionnaires on their diet, lifestyle and medical history.
Men in the top one percent and bottom one percent of the institutionally recommended caloric intake were excluded from this study in order to remove wide variances from their statistical analysis.
The UK study
The UK study, "Animal foods, protein, calcium and prostate cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition" study was completed in March 2007 and its paper was published in the British Journal of Cancer in April 2008.
Animal foods for those in the study included total meat and meat products with their subcategories, fish and shellfish with their subcategories, and dairy products, including milk, yoghurt, cheese, and eggs. Food amounts were measured in grams.
It had already been hypothesized that a high intake of animal protein enhanced growth hormone activity to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Some non-clinical studies showed a strong correlation with milk to higher incidents of prostate cancer with the hypothesis that high calcium intake from dairy products inhibits the synthesis of vitamin D.
After an average of 8.7 years of follow-up, 2,727 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer among the 142,520 participants. The UK did not find a direct association with milk alone to prostate cancer, as other studies seemed to have suggested.
But they determined that protein from milk products, cheese, yoghurt, and others was a strong factor among those whose daily consumption exceeded the recommended daily amount by 35 grams (1.2 ounces) daily.
Calcium from dairy products was associated with prostate cancer risk as well, but not calcium from other foods. In the researchers' opinion, their results support the hypothesis that a high intake of protein or calcium from dairy products may increase the risk for prostate cancer.
Opinion Despite statistical machinations to offset extraneous factors and with just under a 2 percent prostate cancer outcome among 142,500 men over several years of monitoring, one wonders how this can be so conclusive.
One may question if dairy products, especially dairy products from raw milk, increase the risk of prostate cancer. Raw milk dairy product intake was not considered in this study,
One thing is for certain, this study kept several researchers busily employed for a few years.